Thursday, November 09, 2023

First Winter Storm - Gherkins Adventures

 Carrie left a comment in response to my previous FB post (which I'm saving here) that she was continuing on but not moving on. That seems to be a profound distinction. I had begun doing the fall blog catch-up when we got the call on 10-23. I will continue to work on that as I feel like working on it. I will also begin to capture some of the FB thoughts here, as well as start blogging. I have been writing pages and pages in my journal. Some of that processing will find its way to the blog. 

It's always a bit of a guess as to when fall ends and winter begins in Alaska. The calendar claims it is fall. We woke to a distinctly winter feel this morning. It's not our "first" snow but it is certainly going to hang around for a bit.  Though it was uncommonly late this year we knew winter 2023/24 would eventually arrive. She did with great fan fare! 

Just how much snow did we get? Allie cleared the deck on Wednesday night. All of THIS is new.... overnight. It measured 12 inches in the morning and continued to come down most of the day. It is wet and sloppy snow. It has packed down quite a bit, so I have no real number for you...a LOT of snow. 

Michael and I are determined to do at least ONE THING besides grieving a day. Today, we started with snow at about 6:30 a.m. Michael is clearing the front so cars can get out for college and appointments. Snow slid off the roof throughout the evening. Before Michael instituted the new parking scheme it would have submerged my van. 

I made a hot breakfast for Michael and I after we shoveled. We congratulated ourselves on getting ONE THING done so early in the day. Michael spent over an HOUR on hold with Social Security. They had sent a request for more info, but their form was wrong and when he called the number, we were supposed to call he got a message the number was no longer in service. An hour on hold for her to say she didn't really know, and he should make the changes and then take the form to the office in Anchorage. In the past the office in town has said they weren't sure, and he should call the 800 number. Michael had a medical appointment so decided to attend that and see how the roads were before committing to a trip to Anchorage.  In the end he came home, made the changes on the form and faxed it into the number we were given. I sure hope that works. We are still waiting to hear Tricare has fixed their snafu so the VA can find all our family members. 

Getting out to the chicken coop was quite an adventure. 

Jamin is paying for snow removal for us this winter. We were excited when the truck showed up. He made one pass and promptly got tread on his tires. Michael helped him put chains on and worked with gravel etc to tow him out.  He didn't quite do the job we expected...but it didn't take 6 hours of back-breaking work either. LOL 

Schools are closed.  Allie attended her class via zoom.  The girls spent most of the day working on homework. 

I took care of online thank you notes and messages yesterday and worked on more "real life" thank you messages today. I also got on the treadmill again and TURNED IT ON this time. I did a mile before I felt it was time to get off and think about life.  That counts as three things besides grieving I did today.  I think that's enough for the day. 

How did the rest of the Gherkins spend this snowy day? 

Stacia dusted off her cross-country skis and took Millie out for a bit of exercise. Millie LOVES these outings. 

Carrie and Livie snuggled on the couch with hot chocolate and watched Christmas movies. 

JBER declared the road conditions were black. Target was having a one-day sale that Krista was determined to get for one of the kids. She walked to Target and snagged the deal. I love her determination.  They found out their neighbor's father had worked with Weidner for 25 years and had worked with Josiah. Small world. 

Photo from Krista

Jared discovered his new snowblower isn't quite up to an Alaska-size storm. 
Photo from Jared

Arielle and the boys made a snow hill to slide, and they made their first snowman of the year. 

Photo from Arielle

Bre's washer/dryer broke down. Laundry must be done. Her brothers, Alex and Nolan, live next door and agreed to let her use their laundry set up....transporting the laundry was an adventure. 

Photo from Bre

Bre's darlings played in the snow and then enjoyed a hot chocolate party.  Bre discovered they were out of the good chocolate and only had the sugar free kind she keeps on hand for GG and I. She posted in a family thread and Cory showed up on her doorstep with a new container of hot chocolate. 

Photo from Bre

Jojo (Josiah) lasted 5 minutes in the snow...but he seems quite happy to give it a shot. 
Photo from Bre

Noah is not sure WHAT to think about all the white stuff. This is my favorite shot. 
Photo from JaRissa

I wonder what Jamin did this wintery day -I'm sure he kept busy. 

We enjoyed an eclectic dinner. I had two Costco meals from Aaron and Elise left. I threw both in the oven as we were all home for dinner. Yadira showed up with tamales.  The meatloaf took forever to we'll have it later.... tonight, we had Ravioli, tamales and cauliflower rice. 

We had been watching shows like Person of Interest, White Collar, NCIS....and those are simply out for the time being. They hit in a new way. Carrie said she and Liv were watching Christmas movies. crime, no shooting or murder, any sadness resolved in quick order...for the first time since 10-23 we gathered to watch something after dinner. We settled on a couple of Hallmark Christmas movies. Who would have guessed? 

Another day passed. 

Mourning & Thankful Thoughts

Just spent time shoveling our deck. Remembering all the magical fantastic times we have had in this backyard. Bridal showers, water fights, fishing net repair, t ball, kick ball, bocce, bbqs, tea parties, snow paths, sledding, Josiah and Carrie's wedding, fireworks on NYE...and the tears fell while the snow flew.

For the first time EVER, I do not want to put up Christmas decor.
I don't want to take down fall decor.
Taking down fall means admitting we are moving into a new season.
I don't want to move into a new season without Josiah.
I loved the season we were enjoying.
I know I will eventually move into the new season because this is a familiar theme in a *TCK life.... transitioning from season to season.
TCKs learn early to say goodbye quick and don't look back until the pain lessens.
Somehow, I know on a soul level this is not the best way to handle this goodbye.
For today, I choose to live fully present with the pain. Of now.
It will get better.
*TCK - third culture kid aka military brats, missionary kids, diplomats' kids...

Today I am thankful for
1. Friends who searched, bought, and carried Pumpkin spice English muffins to us in their suitcase.
2. Jamin arranged snow plowing for us this winter...and what a wild first experience it was. The snowplow got stuck in our driveway. We were so thankful to spend an hour rather than 5 on snow.
3. Watched a show for the first time since the violence, death, crime or sad themes...a Hallmark Christmas movie.
4. Tamales from Yadira's mom!
5. A loving community.
6. A God who is near and understands what others cannot.
7. Carrie sharing the sweet photo of Josiah feeling Josi move. It's a treasure.
Photo by Livie